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Diversity Champion Highlight: Theresa M. Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD

Theresa M. Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD

Theresa M. Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD

About Theresa M. Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD

Rohr-Kirchgraber’s Path to Medicine

During college, Rohr-Kirchgraber worked at McDonald’s to save money and studied chemistry at California State University, Long Beach. There, she fell in love with the sciences and found medicine.

“Born one of eight children, I never planned on going into medicine,” Rohr-Kirchgraber said. “Just getting into college and paying my way was enough to worry about.”

Rohr-Kirchgraber was the first Latina president of the American Medical Women’s Association and remains involved with the organization. She’s also a board member of Women4Change. “I like to be behind the scenes pushing people along,” Rohr-Kirchgraber said.

Rohr-Kirchgraber will be the first to acknowledge how grateful she is for the support she has received along the way. Among them, Bruce Nichols, MD, at Cornell, who would frequently chat with her about life, career choices and being a young, Mexican American girl from California.

In Her Own Words: Life as a Physician

“Though I put myself through school, I can never say that I did this on my own,” Rohr-Kirchgraber said. “I had a family that supported me, women’s groups and others that provided scholarship funding, and colleagues that helped push me along when the going got tough.

The summer programs during college were essential to learning more about the path to medicine, and student clubs and organizations gave me leadership skills that forged the path to medical school. Luckily, I never gave much thought to the naysayers who said ‘you can’t be a mother and a doctor.’

I graduated from California State, Long Beach and then went on to medical school at Cornell in New York City. Back in the 80s, medical school was a great place to meet guys and my husband was a classmate. We matched together and started residency in Cleveland. Since then, I have been on faculty at various medical schools.

Hearing that you can’t be a mother and a doctor early in my education was disappointing, but not a blow.  It served to make me more determined.  We now have three children (Richard, Grace and James) and are enjoying a fabulous two-career marriage.  Along the way, I have served as a soccer coach, director of a girls hockey team, team manager, church lecturer and too many things to count. To get up every day, excited about the possibilities that lay ahead and be happy to come home at the end of the day…what is better than that!”

Point of Pride: Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

“The Center of Excellence in Women’s Health was started in the late 1990s when it was recognized that women’s health was more than the ‘bikini area’ and that sex and gender should be a consideration in all medical conditions,” Rohr-Kirchgraber said. “Bringing that education to the community, increasing the funding for the center, providing patient care in a comprehensive manner with primary, OBGYN, breast, and transgender care all in one location, and promoting healthy living, we make a difference for Indiana.”

 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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IU School of Medicine

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